Municipal health services to do more coronavirus tests from next week
Starting on May 6, the municipal health services GGD will test more people for the coronavirus, Jan Woldman of GGD GHOR Nederland said in a briefing to parliament. The GGDs will test primary education employees, daycare and out-of-school care workers, and professional childminders. Trainers who work with children can also go to their local GGD to get tested from next week, Woldman said, NOS reports.
This is to make sure that teachers, childminders, coaches and other education professionals are covered when the primary schools reopen on May 11. The GGD is currently working on a plan to quickly expand the number of its employees for source and contact investigation - finding out where a coronavirus patient got infected, and who they had contact with.
The Netherlands' special coronavirus envoy Feike Sijbesma told the parliamentarians that Dutch laboratories have enough capacity to test everyone in the Netherlands with coronavirus symptoms today. The problem is the shortage of good test material on the world market. "About all other countries have the same problem. The manufactures say: 'You are really not the only one mister Netherlands'," he said in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health told NL Times something similar, when asked why the Netherlands did not take a German lab up on its offer to do some 5 thousand coronavirus tests per day for the Netherlands. "We have enough testing capacity in the Netherlands for the time being, we are keeping the lines open, but it is not necessary for now," the spokesperson said.
Testing material is not the only medical supply that is hard to get hold of, Rob van der Kolk of the National Consortium for Medical Supplies said in his briefing. The same goes for all kinds of medical gear, he said. "Shipments are literally stolen, cash is paid at the gates of the warehouses, and extortionate prices are being asked worldwide."
As an example, Van der Kolk described the search for reliable manufacturers and suppliers of medical masks. "There were four emails per minute with all kinds of offers from neighbors who also traded with China," he said. After a long intensive search, the Netherlands now has 13 reliable suppliers of FFP2/3 masks, five for surgical masks, 12 for insulating jackets, and four for examination gloves.